President Cyril Ramaphosa has once again acknowledged the extent of the country’s electricity crisis, but insists there’s light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, in the form of a new act which would contribute to the current power demands, among others.
Government, under the Department of Energy has gazette a new determination for the Energy Regulation Act, which would enable Eskom to source more than 11,800 megawatts of power from Independent Power Producers (IPPs).
In his weekly newsletter published on Monday, 28 September 2020, Ramaphosa said the move was indicative of government’s clear intention to forge ahead with one of the key reforms that are needed to unlock the growth of the economy and attract much-needed investment.
“This new energy will be procured from diverse sources, including solar, wind, gas, coal and storage. While meeting our energy needs well into the future, this new capacity will also help us meet our international obligations to reduce carbon emissions,” he said.
Ramaphosa added that the electricity would be procured through a transparent tendering process that prioritises competitiveness and cost-effectiveness.
“Most importantly at a time when energy supply is severely constrained, new generation projects that can be connected to the grid as soon as possible will be prioritised. The next step, which will be following soon, is to initiate various procurement bidding windows including opening Bid Window 5 of the renewable energy independent power producer programme”
While Eskom has managed to stave off the rolling power cuts for several weeks, citing its stable generation units, CEO Andre De Ryter has warned it is far from being just a bad memory for most South Africans.
Ramaphosa also said stabilising state-owned entities remains a priority for the government, adding that they’re hard at work trying to restore Eskom’s operational capabilities and to further restructure the utility to change how the country generates and transmits electricity.
“Our vision is to lead South Africa though a just transition which ensures that as many people as possible benefit from the investment, growth and job-creation that we can achieve through expanding our electricity generation capacity,” he said.
“We are making progress in overcoming the challenges that Eskom has been facing over a number of years”
The president also said improvements were also being made in municipal debt collection and that despite recent challenges in the form of load shedding, maintenance work is continuing at power stations.
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